Harley Quinn Episode 11 Review: Harley Quinn Highway

Poison Ivy defines her relationship with Harley Quinn in the latest episode of the DC Universe animated series.

This Harley Quinn review contains spoilers.

Harley Quinn Episode 11 Review

With Birds of Prey being released this weekend, it seems only right that the newest addition to DC Universe’s adult animated series is the most action packed yet. Opening with a dark slickness that seems more suited to the much lauded DC animated universe movies, “Harley Quinn Highway” is an interesting look into the mind of Poison Ivy that does more to define her relationship with Harley than we’ve seen so far this season. It also includes a highway named after Harley Quinn which is about as silly and fun as it sounds.

After the drama of the last episode which centered on Harley and her very, very f**ked up family, we’re thrown back into the world of Harley and her crew as the titular hero tries to save her bff from the corporate evils of Scarecrow. If you’re into Harley Quinn for the out there action, then this episode will be very high up on your list. The animators showcase their unbelievable skill as Ivy decimates most of Scarecrow’s goons before she gets infected by a very special mix of his nefarious nightmare poison, which the chemist has mixed up using her own pheromones.

Harley Quinn has arguably been a little uneven over the entirety of the series, especially depending on what draws you to the show. Each episode can run the gauntlet from out there crude comedy, to heart wrenching emotional exploration, and brutal bloody violence so depending on your appetite for each the series can ebb and flow. “Harley Quinn Highway” does a good job of balancing it all and for once doesn’t center its emotional moments on the Joker. Here we see a great example of a blueprint for the show if it goes forward for a second season, it’s a balance of brutal violence, serious story development, and some solid gags that land. 

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Read more: How Birds of Prey Subverts the Male Gaze

With Harley on the rampage the group quickly end up inside Ivy’s head as they try to work out their friend’s greatest fear in order to beat the Scarecrow’s new and deadly fear toxin. Just as an aside, the concept of Scarecrow concocting an Ivy-version of his toxin is incredibly smart and dangerous, especially for the wider DC Universe, though whether we’ll see it carried over to other stories or not is another matter. It’s a fun set up that puts the usually stoic and strong Ivy in a position of vulnerability that we’ve yet to see in this series. It also opens up a key conflict between the two as Harley discovers that she is a major part of Ivy’s greatest fear.

Harley and Ivy’s relationship has long been at the center of the comics as well as the driving force behind this show, so getting a little deeper into it here feels satisfying, even if it took over ten episodes to do so. That’s not to say that the show gets lost or even very deep into that exploration though which still plays it relatively safe when it comes to Harley and Ivy. We do get a little more insight into how Harley’s betrayal and reconnection with Joker hurt Ivy though, and the balance between that aspect and the violent silliness of the show works here better than most of the other episodes in this season that have tried it.

It’ll be very interesting to see where Harley Quinn goes as it’s reaching the end of the season and it doesn’t seem to have set up a final conflict or definitive end. Instead it’s taking more time to establish the relationships between characters and building a wider world which has become more and more engaging as we’ve gone on. Maybe the series will be relying on that to push into a second season or potentially a big cliffhanger, though at this point we couldn’t imagine exactly what that might be… unless they finally deliver on the Harley x Ivy romance that we all want. Either way this excellent entry of Harley Quinn has gotten our hopes up for the final two episodes of the season and what they might have in store for the gang and their fervent fans.

You can watch Harley Quinn on DC Universe now.

Keep up with Harley Quinn news and reviews here.

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4 out of 5